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Wakefield Rattan Company facts for kids

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Wakefield Rattan Co.
WakefieldMA WakefieldRattanCompany.jpg
Location 134 Water St., Wakefield, Massachusetts
Built 1889
MPS Wakefield MRA
NRHP reference No. 89000692
Added to NRHP July 06, 1989

The Wakefield Rattan Company was the world's leading manufacturer of furniture and objects made from rattan in the second half of the 19th century. Founded by Cyrus Wakefield in 1851 in South Reading, Massachusetts (now Wakefield), the company perfected machinery for working with rattan, developing looms for weaving chair seats and mats. The company's products also included wicker furniture and baby carriages. The company also successfully found uses for previously wasted portions of the plant, using shavings to create baling fabric and floor coverings. Its products were available throughout the United States.

In 1868 Cyrus Wakefield donated a new town hall to South Reading, which renamed itself Wakefield in his honor. Wakefield was also a major benefactor and investor in the town.

By 1873, the year of Cyrus Wakefield's death, his company employed 1,000 workers at an 11 acres (4.5 ha) site just outside the town center. In the 1890s the company merged with Heywood Brothers to become the Heywood-Wakefield Company, and its manufacturing facilities in Wakefield were updated after several fires did significant damage to the plant.

By 1930 the company's business had declined, and its facilities were redeveloped for other uses. In 1972 a fire destroyed all but four buildings. In 1989 those buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2005 they were demolished and replaced by a supermarket.

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